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Phuket

Gov calls for greater urgency in tsunami plan

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Gov calls for greater urgency in tsunami plan | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura has ordered the provincial branch of the Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (ODPM) to speed up its coastal evacuation planning and work more closely with local government bodies in order to prevent a repeat of the confusion that followed last Monday’s tsunami alert.

Gov Udomsak made the call at yesterday’s monthly meeting of senior officials at Phuket Provincial Hall.

He said he had ordered evacuation planning after the first tsunami, but had so far seen little real progress.

He also announced that by April the central government’s tsunami early-warning system should be operational in Patong, which has been designated as the pilot district for the project.

He explained that the new system would allow the Meteorological Department to issue tsunami warnings immediately after receiving any report of a large earthquake in the region. The system of three siren towers, each audible at a distance of one kilometer, would cover the entire length of Patong Beach, he said.

In the meantime, the Governor called for better training of local officials to allow them to conduct an orderly evacuation of danger areas within 15 or 20 minutes.

He noted, for example, that a large earthquake centered on Port Blair in the Andaman Islands would produce tsunami waves that would reach Phuket in 45 minutes, whereas another large quake along the Andaman Thrust Fault off Sumatra would take about one hour. These limited time frames make advance preparation an urgent requirement, he said.

V/Gov Niran Kalayanamit added that training sessions would need to be repeated on an annual basis to ensure readiness and guard against complacency.

Gov Udomsak also urged officials to integrate the growing hodge-podge of tsunami warning systems on the island.

In addition to the central government’s system, the Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) is setting up its own 8.8-million-baht emergency shortwave radio network around the island.

Using 12 repeater antennae, the network is intended to provide communications should local mobile phone networks collapse, as they did after the December 26 tsunami and again on Monday.

Initial work on warning towers starts tomorrow in Patong, Kata and Karon, and is scheduled for completion by the end of April. The OrBorJor is still negotiating to acquire all the land necessary to build the repeater stations, however.

There is also a budget for a third tsunami warning system, also in Patong, as part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) 200-million-baht redevelopment plan for that district. Details have yet to be announced.

Gov Udomsak also announced that a “hazard map” is now being produced by Chulalongkorn University researchers in conjunction with a team of Japanese tsunami experts.

The map, which will be ready in about a year, will show which parts of the island are most vulnerable to inundation by tsunamis and will include evacuation routes based on this information. The map will initially cover only the most popular tourist beaches of Patong, Kata-Karon and Kamala, he said.

Pattanapong Aikwanich, President of Phuket Tourist Association, suggested that an evacuation manual in Thai and English be distributed to local people and tourists alike and said that last Monday’s served as yet another wake-up call.

The traffic gridlock then – which in Patong extended the entire length of Phrabaramee Rd from the top of Patong Hill down to the beach – would have resulted in many casualties had a tsunami occurred, he said.

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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